Yesterday, I blogged about our homeschool information and routines. I could still go on for several more posts about how and why we homeschool, so I’m going to try and include a few more things here today.
One issue I didn’t mention yesterday was socialization. It’s already a difficult issue when you are talking about someone with autism. However, I have to give props to my son because he does a great job of inviting a few friends over for video games. He really enjoys that and is very flexible about the whole thing. He has been lucky that there are a few really cool and accepting guys in our neighborhood who will come over to game with him. Other than that, most of his socialization occurs with our church, our family, and family friends. We give him plenty of opportunities for social situations, but they honestly just aren’t his favorite thing. He has a great fan club though, and many people genuinely care about him. He’s happy with that and so are we.
My daughter is a much more social creature. She loves people and is such a delight to be around. She is especially good with adults and young children. She gets along well with people her own age, but they are often quite busy and pretty engaged in their own lives and social circles. I think anyone would agree that being a 14 year old girl is not the easiest job in the world. She will be ok though, she has such a wonderful and sweet personality. She has a lot of social opportunities through our church and our own group of friends and their children. She is lucky that she gets to enjoy a lot of social time with our tutors. We also fill her summers with camps and retreats to help her get out and meet new people and have fun experiences.
We don’t overschedule either one of our kids with a lot of extra activities because that’s just not what works for them. We did perform (as a family) in a local play a few years ago and they really enjoyed that. They would love to do that again and we certainly will support them in that dream. Both of them are also interested in voice lessons, and I plan to have them start as soon as I can find a good teacher. We tried piano lessons, but they didn’t really go all that well. My son did just recently announce that he might be interested in playing the trumpet.
Utah Jazz basketball game
PHYSICAL EDUCATION (P.E.)
This is something I get asked about a lot, and I’m pretty sure my kids get more exercise by being homeschooled than they would if they were in the public school system (unless they were on a sports team). We are required to do P.E. and it actually works out really well because we can choose what we like to do. We mostly go on walks if the weather is nice. Sometimes we go swimming in a nearby community pool. We have a basketball hoop and a large swingset in our backyard. When the weather is cold or otherwise unfriendly, we play Wii fit and Wii sports games, walk on our treadmill, or even dance. My kids are embarrassed by my dancing though, so I use it to punish them. Just kidding! (sort of) lol!
For our P.E. classes, we are required to do 30 minutes of exercise 5x a week and turn in our activity logs. When we don’t have P.E. classes, we still try to stay active. It's definitely a challenge in the winter months though.
TRAVEL AND EVENTS:
We have been lucky over the past few years to have some great travel opportunities. When my husband goes on a business trip, he often invites us to come along. We stay in the hotel and do our own thing while he’s busy with business and then we can all have fun together in the evening. Now that we all have laptops, we can hold school almost anywhere. It’s expensive to travel, and it takes a lot of effort and planning. It has taken us almost 20 years of marriage to get to a stage in our lives where we can fit in some travel adventures. We make it a priority to be able to do a few trips each year. When we travel during school time, we try to work ahead if possible. That can be somewhat stressful, but it’s always better than having to do hours of work on vacation. Most of the time, we just spend a few hours each morning doing our work online before we get to the fun stuff.
Hotel room homeschool
We have held school in a variety of unique locations:
- West Yellowstone, Montana
- Anaheim, California
- Park City, Utah
- Cedar City, Utah
- St. George, Utah
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Las Vegas, Nevada
Besides traveling away from our home, we feel it’s important to get out and see the sites in our own community. We go to the zoo, to museums, concerts, plays, symphonies, and more. I really didn’t have a lot of those experiences until I was in college. My kids are very culturally savvy.
They love Shakespeare!
I have a few tricks and habits that I’ve developed over the pasts several years that help keep things a little more sane for all of us.
- Get up and get ready for the day like we were going to school outside the home. This means that I shower, dress, and do my hair and makeup. It’s nothing fancy, but I don’t sit around in my pajamas. I encourage my kids to do the same. It’s not always successful, but it’s a worthy goal.
- Make the beds and do a general cleanup of the house first thing in the morning. It’s much easier to work at home if the home is clean.
- Have fun with my kids. After spending many hours each day in school with my kids, it would be easy to say I’ve done enough. I really believe that they should still have time with me as just their Mom though, so I try to still find other ways to be with them. Family time is important whether or not I’m their learning coach.
If you have any great tips or tricks that help you keep your family life running smooth, I’d love to hear them. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool or not, it’s all valuable advice if it works for you!
*Chalkboard from Scrap Artist school kit (no longer available), font is Messy Bessy by Fontologie